Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Mighty Oak Survives (For Now)

 Oak Tree lined Kellogg Avenue

After an a hour of discussion and a unanimous "advisory" vote (1 abstention) of the Amherst Public Shade Tree Committee to deny the Unitarian Universalist Society Church petition to remove the 36" wide majestic pin oak on Kellogg Avenue, Tree Warden Alan Snow agreed the healthy towering tree should not come down.  Yet.

All American Tree Warden Alan Snow

In a compromise hatched at the meeting the church has agreed to undertake extra construction techniques -- that Snow estimates costs only around $2,000 -- to protect the roots of the tree that are on church property.
Over 40 citizens show up for the Public Hearing, the most ever according to Tree Warden Snow

The cost to the Church in the form of a "fine" by the Tree Warden for removing a healthy tree (had he given them permission) in the town way is $3,200 in replacement costs, so in the long run this could prove to be a more cost effective solution.

Plus, avoiding that other considerable cost in bad press should the tree suddenly become firewood.

Church Attorney Alan Seewald played the "liability" threat card, but in a nice way

One speaker for the Church did acknowledge Public Relations nosedived leading up to this meeting.

Although the $100,000 the Church is requesting from Amherst Town Meeting next month in grant funding to rehab a Tiffany stained glass window never came up, it's safe to assume it was on people's minds.

 Carol Cave, President Church Board of Trustees, addressses the Tree Warden

Spending a few thousand dollars now in a "good faith" effort to save the tree, will most certainly buy them votes on the floor of Amherst Town Meeting.


Tom McBride said...

I was at that meeting. I can't believe how much the church spent on a losing case. I think they have more money than I thought. And thanks for the picture of Seewald. The liability thing was just a bluff. It's sort of plain looking building (the church), but I think it's beautiful. An Amherst landmark. I don't know why they want to change it.

Anonymous said...

Larry, to what do you attribute last months big spike in page views?

Anonymous said...

re: page view spike...was it the blarney thing?

Larry Kelley said...

Blarney Blowout.

My initial report, which started on Saturday the morning of the event and included the riot at Townhouse later in the afternoon, ended up getting almost 30,000 page views before any of the mainstream media caught up with the story around Tuesday.

So if you Googled "Blarney Blowout" at anytime that weekend or Monday I was the #1 return.

In fact my story from the previous year started getting tons of hits in the week leading up to this year's event.

Dr. Ed said...

The existing exterior of the church is historically/architecturally significant to the extent that it reflects church construction of that era -- and I do wonder if it should be considered a historically significant landmark that ought not be modified.

I do, however, ask the other question: the public benefit from preserving/repairing a window that is only significant when viewed from the
inside of a private building?

Anonymous said...

Holy Crap.

Ed thinks of things that would have never entered my mind.

He must be Blessed...

Anonymous said...

Ed thinks of things that would have never entered my mind.

As does the Mass Department of Revenue, who get to oversee this CPA slush fund money, and to whom any aggrieved person can appeal.

Anonymous said...

Who is the gentleman in the pink crocs? I frequently see him laying on the sidewalk downtown or picking up trash.

Larry Kelley said...

Bill Alsasser. And he was in favor of saving the tree (I think).